Sunday, 19 February 2017

Love's danger.

Love is a dangerous thing. I would scarcely recommend it. It’s not in your best self-interest. It’s suicidal in fact. Love changes things. It never leaves things as they are. If you love things as they are, that is, love yourself as you are, then love is not for you.

Love transforms without forewarning and it transforms to the extreme. It doesn’t stop at your call. It only stops until it is done transforming. And it stretches you beyond what you are willing to be stretched.

Love is counterintuitive too. It just doesn’t render the results expected. Love’s rewards may be betrayal. Love’s payback may be a broken heart. Love’s harvest may be a dark season of hurts, pain and disappointments. With love, the seeds you sow may not always yield the fruit you reap – at least not in the way you would expect it. It shatters your expectations.

If you want the happiness that this world offers, avoid love. Avoid it at all costs. Love is practically self-sabotaging. There is just no self in love. Love compels you to move out of yourself. It forces you to put yourself last. It demands that you serve others first. It is just foolish in the eyes of the world – it makes no sense. Is enlightened self-interest the way to save the world?

There is no instant gratification with love. The sweat of your brows come from the silent pain in your heart with love. Earthly pleasure is the antithesis of love. Hedonism goes against the grain of love.

Love constrains. It restricts your heart’s desires. It is a freedom killer, the venom to Thy Will Be Done. You can’t do what you want to do with love. It holds you back. It forbids. It forestalls. It forebears. It does things to annoy and infuriate. Love rises like a sore thumb in an otherwise self-enriching world.

Love asks too much in return for receiving too little – in the tangible. It is never a self-profiting bargain with love. The quid pro quo is self-defeating. If love is applied in the marketplace, you might as well be prepared to sell and give away all you own. You are nothing but just a steward, not a capitalist baron. Now, that’s a deal-killer in the real world. That’s a price too high to pay. That's a road no market-driven capitalist looking for the next big buck will trek.

Love is a totalitarian too. It dictates. It makes the rules. It overthrows, overrules and overcomes. It is relentless with the discipline of self. With love, you are bound by compelling passions beyond your control. And it makes you do things you don’t fully understand, or even want to understand.

Love makes you soft. It makes you wonder. It makes you give pause. It makes you look inside yourself. It makes you give in, let go, let off. It makes you embrace the unembraceable, forgive the unforgiveable, and do the impossible. Love will conquer you.

For this reason, the world gives love many demeaning labels. They call it weak. They call it foolish. They call it mindless, even hopeless.

I guess that is why CS Lewis forewarned us about love in The Four Loves:-

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of perturbations of love is Hell.”

The greatest example of love is Calvary. It is an enduring example, an unforgettable devotion. A man hanged there once. He hanged there with two others. He hanged there not because of guilt, but because of love. He had forsaken all for love. He was a both a slave to love and the master of it. Jesus is love.

Jesus demonstrated to the world how weak, foolish, mindless and hopeless love can be as he hanged there bloodied, ugly, dying, tormented, unrecognizable, and unapproachable. He was the sacrifice of love. The ultimate price for a lost humanity.

Jesus experienced the things that CS Lewis mentioned above about giving oneself to love. He became vulnerable, broken. He was betrayed by a kiss, sold out for 30 pieces of silver. He was persecuted, whipped and tortured. He was abandoned, alienated and left to die. His heart was wrung, torn, aggrieved, and his body eventually gave in when he exclaimed, “It’s finished.”

But before he heaved his last breath, Jesus embraced the unembraceable, forgave the unforgiveable, and did the impossible. He gave his life to all and redeemed all. His death was the price and life was his gift.

In love, he came. In love, he lived. And in love, he rose. As promised, he left the world transformed, forever.

So, love is indeed a dangerous thing. CS Lewis was right – “There is no safe investment” with love. You lose yourself in love. You pay the highest price for love. Love’s sacrifice takes everything from you. Love’s labor also changes everything in you.

Once you surrender to love, you surrender to all things impossible. All of a sudden, love does things you can’t recognize yourself doing them.
In a marriage, love endures to the end. It fights for what truly matters. It compels you to commit with a passion you didn’t even know you had in the first place. The days may turn to months and the months turn to years and the years to decades, and yet love is never tired. It never wavers. It persists on. It is a stubborn transforming force.

In all relationships, love makes the first sacrifice, and it is always a lasting one. Love transcends human ability and transforms human inability. Love makes things happen which wouldn’t have happened without love.

And to love is to deny self. For it is said that every summons of Christ leads to death. The death of self. This echoes Bonheoffer’s sentiments fittingly: “When Christ bids a man come, he bids him come and die.” For to die to self is to live for love. And to live for love is to overcome, eventually. Love frees when self bleeds. Jesus is love. And there is no greater freedom than to be in Him. Let love rule your heart. Let it change you. Let it make you more like Christ. Cheerz.